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Hispanic Heritage: Frida Kahlo

Anastacia Delany

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     It is Hispanic Heritage Month, but two-thirds of students the Crocnicle interviewed did not know who Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon, most commonly known as Frida Kahlo, was. This is surprising because she was a famous Latin American painter who was known for her self-portraits.  Her father was Guillermo Kahlo and her mother was Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez. She had 3 other sisters Cristina, Adriana, And Matilde as well as, 2 half-sisters, from her father’s previous marriage. Frida’s life began in the very place where it later ended, in the “Blue House”, built by her father in Coyoacan, Mexico.

     Frida was born on July 6, 1907 and died 47 years later on July 13, 1954.  At age six, she had been struck with polio, affecting the use of her right leg and stunting the growth of her foot. After completion of primary education 1922, she enrolled at Escuela National Prepatoria where she hoped to become a doctor. There were only 35 girls out of 2000 students at that school, and it was during this time that she joined the Cachuchas, a rebellious group of students that devoted themselves to literature and mischief. The leader of the group was Alejandro Gomez Arias. On September 17, 1975, Frida and her boyfriend, Alejandro, were riding a wooden bus home from school when the bus ran into a trolley car. Frida fractured her pelvis bone, several ribs, her legs, and her collarbone. She and her boyfriend broke up and she spent the next  few months recovering from her accident in bed. Ironically, it was during these months of solitude that Frida began to take painting seriously.

     When Frida recovered most of her health, a friend of hers introduced her to a group of people centered around a Cuban communist. It was the lover of the Cuban communist that was an acquaintance of Diego Rivera. Soon after, Frida met Diego and showed him some of her paintings and asked for his opinion. He answered by saying ”You have talent.” On August 21, 1929 Kahlo was wed to Rivera.

     Throughout the years, Frida began to travel with her spouse to paint murals, attend art exhibits, and attend award shows. During her years with Diego, she had 3 miscarriages because of her fractured pelvis.  In 1934, Diego had an affair with her younger sister, Cristina. In October of 1938, Frida traveled to New York for her first one-person exhibit. Diego and Frida divorced in 1939, but later remarried in 1940.

      On April 14, 1941, Frida’s father died of a heart attack. She became very depressed and her physical state worsened. In April of 1954, she contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized for 2 months before dying from complication of pneumonia. Her house went on to become a museum, and her artwork went on tfridao become renowned masterpieces.

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Hispanic Heritage: Frida Kahlo